I may regret not taking it to a professional at some point but I just can’t bring myself to let someone else do this job. The whole point of this exercise -restoring the SS- was to learn a bunch of skills and see what I could do. So, in that spirit I put on my grubby work clothes, got out the serious metal-cutting tools and went for it before I had time to turn back.
Friday afternoon I got to the shop at about 430. I have been looking at this rusty mess since before I received the car and it struck me at that moment -now was the time to fix it. Under that rust hole is the support for the door, a sort of cup. Fortunately it is VERY solidly attached and I just need to work around it.
A big cut off wheel, a wire wheel, a hacksaw blade and a Dremel tool with a little cut-off wheel were the tools I employed. Of course I wore eye protection and a very good respirator! While the metal does look bad, most of it is still quite thick and strong if the effort it took to cut all this out is any indication.
Here it is from the other side. This is very scary, no going back now. The metal I cut away is very flimsy. My approach is to cut as little as possible away. This is the point I left it at when I went home on friday evening.
I have to admit, I had spent maybe 10 minutes welding in my whole life before I tacked this piece in. At this point I used a hammer to nudge the corners a little and get them lined up as well as possible.
Zip zip zip, this nasty looking weld took me about 15 minutes. The old metal pops and spits a lot when welding. Looks pretty good from the other side. There are a few burn throughs to fix, but I’ll deal with that after I grind them down.
A few more little pieces in place. I think you are supposed to use a brake to make bends in a single piece of metal but I decided to have each plane be a new piece of metal. My welds joining new metal to new metal came out pretty good. Lots of clean up to do with a grinder later.
Alright faithful readers, some of you are amazed, some appalled, and some are saying ‘see, I told you so’ but hopefully all of you are glad to see me back at it and moving closer to the point where I start learning how to apply body filler and shape it and, well, you get the idea. How do I feel about what I got done? I feel empowered, I am one step closer to being able to say ‘I can fix anything!’ Stay tuned for about 7 more posts about repairs of this sort.